Good Stress: Task Loading

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Therapy works by beginning clients at task levels that are attainable to them, the foothold. Most often, they will succeed on simpler tasks before being able to advance to more difficult tasks. When a task is made to be more difficult in order to strengthen skills and move things forward, we call this ‘loading’.

Loading can happen in a number of ways. Tasks can be loaded, or made more difficult by:

-slowing things down or speeding them up,

-giving less time to do something

-doing something blindfolded

-doing something for an extended period of time

-making something more complicated, like a 64 piece puzzle instead of a 16 piece puzzle, or a longer maze.

-advancing to more syllables or a higher vocabulary

-with glasses, without glasses

-while sitting, standing, balancing on one leg or on a balance beam

-left-handed, right-handed

and so on. In many exercises, you will be instructed as to how to load tasks. Remember, the goal is to make things progressively harder, but always within reach. Always watch that you do not overdo things. Generally speaking, if a client is complaining about eye strain, headache, dizziness, or nausea, you should take a break or leave it to the next day.

Some tasks can train different skills depending on how you load them. For example, most tasks are made more difficult by speeding them up using a metronome (up to 90+ bpm) and this builds automaticity. These same tasks (such as Shape Touch) are more effective at building attention/mental focus and fixation (visual signal acquisition) if you slow it down quite a bit (say 40 bpm).